Thomas J. Russo-US PRESSWIRE
Predicting the NFL action before it happens isn't easy... unless you're a Predictificationist like me. Sit back, relax and know that you've come to the right place.
THIS SEASON: 106-53*-1 (.667)
LAST WEEK: 11-3
COLTS PREDICTIONS: 7-3
I love this holiday... the three F's (family, food and football) are the perfect storm of ultimate bliss - don't you agree? I do find it funny that one day after celebrating all we are thankful for, we trample others at retail stores trying to get more stuff we want.... only in America.
This year I travel to beautiful Evansville, IN - the football capital of the world (I made that up), so bonus points on Colts trivia (and the chance to win the Buffalo Wild Wings gift card) to anyone who actually knows something about Evansville. Some Predictificationists would take the holiday off, but not me. I am out here for you. You don't know what it is like being me out here for you. It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, OK? But... I love it.
Tough loss to the Patriots on Sunday. Hopefully you read my article last week (of course you did) and didn't expect a Colts win - and it's not the end of the world, the sky is not falling... Everything is going to be OK - come back off the ledge. For those of you that are in full-fledged panic mode, let me ease your mind - it is Thanksgiving after all. Here are the top five things that Colts fans should be thankful for:
- Jim Irsay - Yeah, I know - he's crazy, thinks he's Willy Wonka and 90% of what he says is comprised of song lyrics (instead of movie quotes, like us intelligent people), but he is the mad genius behind one of the ballsiest decisions in sports history. This guy risked it all - mainly his ego and the future of the franchise - and has come out glowing on the other side. You can almost see Irsay waltzing down the street singing, 'cause I've got a golden ticket' can't you? (No... that's not one of the movie quotes)
- Ryan Grigson - Grigson has been proclaimed 'Executive of the Year' by one writer on this website - and also criticized for some decisions on this site. I tweeted something as I watched the game on Sunday and I'll repeat it here... Think about some of the Colts players that are making impact plays for this team - Andrew Luck, Vick Ballard, T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen, LaVon Brazill, Jerrell Freeman, Coby Fleener... all of them are rookies (or in their first year on an NFL roster) - that is impressive. Imagine what Grigson will be able to do next season with all that cap space (culminated with the 'feel good' story this season) to attract free agents.
- Andrew Luck - What more can we say about the guy? Sure, he needs to play better on the road - and that'll come with time (Peyton Manning started 0-9 on the road), but the things he has done have already been well beyond his years. He's doing things that have never been done before and doing it with a team of rookies (see above). Sit back and enjoy the show for the next 12-15 years.
- Reggie Wayne - This is hard for me to admit... I was ready for Wayne to move on after last season. I didn't see any leadership last season when the team needed it most and he seemed to have benefited from playing with Manning all those years, incapable of making plays on his own. I'm happy to admit that I was very wrong. Wayne has re-emerged as one of the most feared receivers in football and his chemistry with Andrew Luck has been the difference this season.
- AFC - The Colts have the benefit of playing in the AFC during a season of drought. There aren't many dominating teams in the conference this season, leaving the door WIDE open for the Colts improbable playoff run. The Colts are better than expected but a down year in the AFC has helped make this season memorable.
Movie Quote Trivia (MQT) is back for another week!
Congratulations to Matthew Beeson of Indianapolis, IN for correctly spotting all three movie quotes last week (O Brother Where Art Thou, Speed and Joe Dirt) and answering all three Colts Trivia questions correctly (Mike Prior, Kelvin Hayden and Five). $50 more in Buffalo Wild Wings goodness are up for grabs this week. Raising the bar (movies and trivia) cut down on the number of correct responses I received - and improved your chances.... either that or people don't care anymore (hmmm). Like last week I will compile all the correct responses for the first 24 hours, put the names in a hat (actually an excel spreadsheet using a random formula) and pick a winner. To be eligible for the prize you must find all three movie quotes and answer all three Colts questions correctly (I can't confirm or deny that adding compliments to your email will help your chances).
If you are new to the game (where have you been?) it works like this: Three movie quotes from my favorite movies are hidden in this article. If you find them (and know the answers to Colts trivia), send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be one of the first people to send me an email with all three quotes and the movies they come from and you could win the gift card.
Let's recap this past week shall we?
Here's why I'm a genius:
1) Colts @ Patriots
What I said: "History is against the Colts heading into New England this week and - Colts fans won't want to hear this - fortunately, this game doesn't mean much. The Colts are in the drivers seat for a Wild Card berth and a loss to the Patriots wouldn't hurt too badly. Tom Brady should have a field day against a Colts secondary that hasn't done a lot this season (minus Darius Butler against the Jaguars) and Rob Gronkowski is a matchup nightmare for the Colts (and any other team) that scored three touchdowns against them last year. Stevan Ridley gives the Patriots a legitimate running threat for the first time in a few years, which means Josh Chapman (if he plays) should get tested right away. The Patriots are tops in the NFL in turnover differential (+16) and the Colts have been prone to turnovers. The Colts seem to have luck on their side (in more ways than one) and should keep this game close and beat the spread. Enjoy the ride and watch the Colts exceed expectations - just don't expect a win this Sunday. PATRIOTS WIN 31-24"
What happened: Well, you can't say I didn't warn you. Rob Gronkowski again terrorized the Colts for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns - exactly as I predicted. And, Tom Brady had a field day with little pressure from the Colts defense to the tune of 331 yards, 3 touchdowns and (shocker) no interceptions. The score wasn't as close as I predicted, but I'm a Colts fan... I try to stay optimistic.
2) Cowboys @ Browns
What I said: "The Cowboys win against the Eagles last week may have been just what they needed. They got some big plays out of their offense and defense and seem to be back in the playoff hunt (thanks to the Giants struggles). The Browns are a feisty bunch and will probably frustrate the Cowboys and keep this game closer than it should be. Cowboys win but the Browns just may be able to beat the spread. COWBOYS WIN 23-17"
What happened: This game was a lot closer than it should have been and the Browns were able to frustrate the Cowboys much of the day - all the way into overtime. In the end the Cowboys won (as predicted) and the Browns beat the spread (as predicted).
3) Bengals @ Chiefs
What I said: "The Bengals lost four straight before beating the Giants, but didn't look that bad doing it (I know that sounds weird). They were within one score of the Dolphins, Steelers and Broncos - that should be good enough to beat the lowly Chiefs. After Monday's disaster against the Steelers I get the feeling the Chiefs are about to hit rock bottom (as if they weren't there already). The Bengals should be able to get an easy win here, don't worry about the 3.5. BENGALS WIN 24-13"
What happened: Hope you didn't worry about the 3.5 because the Bengals took care of business, 28-6. Seems like an easy win indeed - and another check mark for the ol' Predictificationer.
4) Jaguars @ Texans
What I said: "The new kings of the AFC South get to play the one of the league's doormats and there should be little doubt about the outcome. The Texans should be able to roll here but that is a lot of points to give to the Jaguars - divisional games always scare me. If I were a betting man, I wouldn't touch this game with the large spread - but I could see it going either way. TEXANS WIN 27-13"
What happened: While other phony Predictificationists told you this would be an easy one for the Texans - some even calling it a 'lock', I told you to stay away - You're welcome. Close call, but the Texans pull out a win in overtime and Jaguars beat the spread.
5) Saints @ Raiders
What I said: "
The Saints are on a mission to get back into the playoff conversation - and they made a bold statement last week beating the Falcons. They are starting to believe and that makes New Orleans very dangerous. The Raiders can score some points but can't stop anybody - that's a bad combination against the Saints. Drew Brees should throw for 320 and 4 touchdowns.
This is the lock of the week.
SAINTS WIN 38-24"
What happened: While some people picked the Texans as their lock of the week (fools), others picked the Falcons (and were sweating all day)... people that listen to me were able to kick back, relax and know they were set with this matchup. This proves what many already knew: I am a god. I'm not the God... I don't think. Saints defense did one score better than I predicted, 38-17.
6) Chargers @ Broncos
What I said: "The Broncos are starting to get a little more respect in Vegas with a larger spread this week (finally). The Chargers will treat this game as a must-win, but it is probably too late to catch the Broncos. This won't be the same type of game as their last matchup with each half very one-sided, but I think it'll be close throughout. The Broncos will win but this will be closer than people think. BRONCOS WIN 31-24"What happened: I told you the time would come when the Broncos wouldn't be able to cover the spread - and it was this past week. The Broncos went in favored by 7.5 - I liked them by seven and took the Chargers to cover. Win, win. Almost nailed the score, too - finished 30-23.
Here's why I'm dumb:
1) Dolphins @ Bills
What I said: "
The Dolphins looked the part of a potential playoff team for most of the first half of the season - and then they played the Titans last week.... Yikes. Remember when the Colts beat the Packers and looked to be on a roll only to get blown out by a Jets team? I think this is kinda the same thing. Don't give up on the Dolphins after one bad game - they should beat the Bills. The Bills were able to keep it close against New England but the Dolphins defense is better and should limit their opportunities. Look for the Dolphins to bounce back.
DOLPHINS WIN 27-20"
What happened: I don't know what to think about the Dolphins anymore... I'm back to thinking they stink. On the other hand, it's now the Bills that scare me - and they're heading into Lucas Oil Stadium this Sunday.
2) Eagles @ Redskins
What I said: "I know this sounds crazy - but I think switching to Nick Foles will give the Eagles some life. Everyone is down on them right now and I think they are going to find a way to pull this game out. The Redskins have lost three in row but people seem to ignore that because of Robert Griffin III. The Eagles have more talent on their roster and I'm taking talent over hype. EAGLES WIN 27-24"
What happened: Nick Foles did not give life to the Eagles. RGIII didn't throw much, but when he did it was for touchdowns. Eagles didn't stand a chance all day - Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
- Plaxico Burress signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers this week to help an injured receiving unit. I'd make some bold predictions about his production for the rest of the season - but I don't want to risk being wrong and shoot myself in the foot.
- Ed Reed's appeal was heard and his suspension overturned in less than 24 hours. Jonathan Vilma's appeal and suspension should be settled sometime over the next 24 years.
- Andrew Luck has struggled on the road this season, but that's nothing new for a rooke. Peyton Manning started his career 0-9 on the road. Luck is 2-3. Be patient with the rookie - winning consistently on the road is one of the last things a young quarterback masters. Other rookies starting at quarterback on the road are a combined 5-17 this season.
- Peyton Manning will have to play the next 4-6 weeks without his top running back, Willis McGahee. At first I thought this was a big deal, but then I remembered that Manning hasn't had a top running back since Edgerrin James - and he seemed to do OK.
Send me the answers to these questions with your movie quotes and you will be one step closer to deep fried chicken goodness wallowing in one of your favorite sauces. I don't think you can simply 'Google' these questions... but maybe I'm wrong. (Please send me the name of the player or number you're guessing, not the letter)
1) The 243 points the Colts scored last season was their lowest total in 18 years. Since the league went to a 16 game schedule what it the lowest season scoring output in Colts history?
2) Who was the last Colts player to lead the team in receiving yards not named Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne?
B. Sean Dawkins
C. Reggie Langhorne
3) Which of these players never led the team in rushing yards for a season?
A. Anthony Johnson
B. Roosevelt Potts
C. Albert Bentley
Before we get to the games, here are some other fearless predictions, news and notes for Week 12:
On to the picks!
Buffalo Bills (4-6) at Indianapolis Colts (6-4)
Line - Colts by 3
The Colts have won four of the last five matchups going into this Sunday, the only loss coming during the last game of the 2010 season in which the starters didn't really play and there was a blizzard in Buffalo. The Bills four wins haven't come against very tough competition (Cardinals, Chiefs, Dolphins and Browns) with just a combined record of 11-29. The Bills defense allows more points than the Colts do (which is saying something) and seems to be prone to giving up points in bunches. With that said, the Bills played the Patriots tough two weeks ago (better than the Colts did) and they run the ball as well as anyone in the NFL.
The Colts always play better at home (normal for a young team) and should treat this game like a playoff game. There are remaining games on their schedule they are supposed to win - and this is one of them. The defense has to step up to the task at some point this season - turnovers and defense are keeping this team from being really special. The offense has done it's part (ranked 4th overall) - in fact, the Colts are ranked in the top 15 for rushing for the first time since 2004.
If the Colts are going to continue to mount a playoff run they're going to have to win this game. The game will come down offensive execution and stopping the run. When the Bills lose they give up an average of 39.6 points - when they win they only give up 15.3 points. The Colts need to avoid turnovers and put up points, they won't win this game 20-17. The Bills run for an average of almost 160 yards a game when they win and 130 when they lose... This team can run the ball, but keeping them to around 100 yards is going to be key. I think the Colts do both this Sunday - score big and limit the running game. That adds up to a win and the Colts cover the spread.
COLTS WIN 31-27
Houston Texans (9-1) at Detroit Lions (4-6)
Line - Texans by 3
The Texans are rolling again and may be the best team in the NFL. The only game they lost this season was to a pass-happy team from the NFC North - the Packers. The Lions have a similar pedigree and may shock some people in this game. Listen closely - do not bet on this game. Logic says that the Texans will win and probably cover the spread - but this game may surprise you. Stay away. The bosses at Stampede Blue force me to make a pick, so I'll take the Texans to win and cover, but I wouldn't put a dime on this one.
TEXANS WIN 34-27
Washington Redskins (4-6) at Dallas Cowboys (5-5)
Line - Cowboys by 3.5
Over the last eight meeting between these two teams the point differential is just 22 points - in favor of the Cowboys. That's an average of less than three points a game. Once again - stay away from this game if you are betting any money. It's not worth it! The Cowboys are on a bit of a winning streak and will treat this as a playoff game as they try to revive their season. The Redskins are tough to predict and Robert Griffin III is a game changer. As always, in an even game I'm taking the home team by a field goal - which means I think the Redskins beat the spread.
COWBOYS WIN 27-24
New England Patriots (7-3) at New York Jets (4-6)
Line - Patriots by 6.5
If you look at the series over the years between the Patriots and the Jets it seems that there is one game that is close and another that's a blowout each season. They've already played their close game this season which leads me to believe the Patriots should handle this one pretty easily. It's not a groundbreaking statement to say that the Jets have had a down year - a VERY down year. The Patriots will be without starting TE Rob Gronkowski and it may hamper the passing game a bit - look for more commitment to the running game and Aaron Hernandez to come up big. I say the Patriots roll in this one.
PATRIOTS WIN 34-17
Minnesota Vikings (6-4) at Chicago Bears (7-3)
Line - Even
When Jay Cutler has played the Bears have owned this series lately - and put up big points doing it. Obviously Cutler is the wildcard here, but if he plays I like the Bears to rebound from an embarrassing loss to the 49ers last week. Nothing fires up a proud defense like a good ol' fashioned butt-whooping. Look for the Bears to make a statement, shut down Adrian Peterson and win convincingly.
BEARS WIN 31-17
Oakland Raiders (3-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)
Line - Bengals by 9
Carson Palmer makes his much anticipated return to Cincinnati this week - that should be fun (I'm pretty sure Palmer was quoted as saying, "I will never set foot in Paul Brown Stadium again." LIAR!). I think the Raiders can compete in this game, although the Bengals will be fired up to make Palmer look bad. I still like the Bengals to win this game but I wouldn't be shocked if the Raiders keep it close, covering the spread.
BENGALS WIN 27-21
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at Cleveland Browns (2-8)
Line - Even
The Steelers will be starting their third quarterback of the season this week against the Browns after Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich go down with injuries over the last two weeks. In the past this wouldn't matter much - the Steelers have always been more reliant on the run and their defense than the passing game - until this year. Charlie Batch is a solid veteran and he should be able to manage the game for Pittsburgh against one of the bottom teams in the league. Look for Cleveland to come out with a lot of energy looking for a chance to upset their division rival while their down, but I think a turnover late will seal the game for the Steelers.
STEELERS WIN 23-17
Denver Broncos (7-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-9)
Line - Broncos by 10.5
This one shouldn't be close. Don't over-think it. Peyton Manning has the Broncos playing as well as any team in the league this season and the Chiefs are terrible. That should be all the commentary you need.
It's the lock of the week.
BRONCOS WIN 31-17
Seattle Seahawks (6-4) at Miami Dolphins (4-6)
Line - Seahawks by 3
The Seahawks haven't been all that great on the road this season but Miami is starting to free fall. This game will be close and if you're a gambler I probably wouldn't touch it - but the Seahawks should get to 7-4.
SEAHAWKS WIN 24-17
Atlanta Falcons (8-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4)
Line - Falcons by 1
I love what Tampa Bay has done over the last several weeks - but the Falcons are only favored by 1? Look for Matt Ryan to rebound after last week's disaster and the Buccs to come back to earth a bit. Falcons win this one and cover the spread.
FALCONS WIN 27-24
Tennessee Titans (4-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)
Line - Titans by 3
I don't know why, but I love Tennessee this week. The Jaguars are due for a let down after giving it everything they had against Houston last week. I think the Titans win this one by two touchdowns and Chris Johnson has a huge day.
TITANS WIN 27-13
Baltimore Ravens (8-2) at San Diego Chargers (4-6)
Line - Ravens by 1
If you are a gambling man, take note - this is another game I love this week. Yes, I know that the Ravens will be traveling across the country. Yes, I know Baltimore hasn't exactly been dominant lately. All I need to know is that Norv Turner is still coaching and Phillip Rivers is still playing quarter back for the Chargers - as long as that happens I like Baltimore all day.
RAVENS WIN 27-20
San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1) at New Orleans Saints (5-5)
Line - Even
This is the game of the week for sure. The 49ers looked awfully good against the Bears this past week - and we don't know who will be starting at quarterback. The Saints continue their hot streak and have made it back to .500 after an 0-4 start. Have to go with the old standby... Home team by a field goal. This one should be fun.
SAINTS WIN 27-24
St. Louis Rams (3-6-1) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6)
Line - Cardinals by 2.5
The Cardinals are the anti-Saints - they haven't won a game since starting 4-0. I just can't pick a team that has fallen apart the way that they have - even if they're at home. I'm picking the Rams to beat the spread and continue Arizona's losing streak.
RAMS WIN 20-17
Green Bay Packers (7-3) at New York Giants (6-4)
Line - Giants by 2.5
This one might be game of the week #2. The Giants can still afford to lose a few games before they back their way into the playoffs again and surprise everybody. Look for the Packers to keep rolling with a big road win. Aaron Rodgers will have a huge day and a big fourth quarter drive to put this one away.
PACKERS WIN 31-27
Carolina Panthers (2-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-7)
Line - Even
Is it just me or is ESPN the worst at picking Monday Night Football games? I just can't pick the Eagles anymore - I have no faith in anything they do. So, even against the Carolina Panthers, I'm picking the Eagles to lose. (Please note that I didn't pick the Panthers to win - I couldn't live with myself)
EAGLES LOSE 27-17
Did you see the movie quotes? Be the first to hit me on my email Predictification@gmail.com for a $50 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card!
Agree? Disagree? As always, comments are welcome! I will track my picks during the season and brag when I'm right (and pretend I was right when I'm wrong). Pick against me if you dare - remember, I'm a Predictificationist.
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